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OpenMarket: Banking and Finance

  • Democratic Witnesses Oppose Interest Rate Cap

    February 13, 2020
    American Banker ran a piece last week on a proposed law to impose an interest rate cap on small-dollar loans. While the hearing revealed the inner-party conflict over the legislation, the divide was further demonstrated by Democratic witnesses who contradicted their written testimony in support of a rate cap by seeming to question the merits of such a measure.
  • Interest Rate Caps Harm Financial Inclusion; Bank Partnerships Spread Inclusion Around

    February 12, 2020
    The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing last week on small-dollar lending and proposed legislation that would limit the interest rates on such loans. Many lawmakers are concerned that “payday and car-title loans can be harmful to consumers.” While it’s good to focus on improving the lives of financially strapped consumers, much of the hearing ignored basic economics and how the proposed interest rate caps would further harm poor consumers by likely shutting them out of access to legal credit entirely.
  • CFPB Takes a Step to End Regulation by Enforcement

    January 27, 2020
    After almost a decade of ambiguity, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has finally offered some clarity to its definition of what constitutes an “abusive” practice by lending institutions like banks and credit unions.
  • Divisions Between Bank Regulators Over Fair-Lending Revamp Highlight the Need for Outright Repeal

    January 23, 2020

    Despite hesitation from the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has made clear that they plan to push forward with their revamp of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The plan which was jointly proposed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) late last year, if implemented...
  • Despite Naysayers, Consumer Finance Panelists are Uniquely Qualified to Tackle Barriers to Financial Inclusion

    January 14, 2020
    Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection announced the membership of the newly created Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law, which will work to “harmonize and modernize federal consumer financial laws” and report to the CFPB director with its recommendations on how to improve and strengthen the legal and regulatory regime around consumer finance.
  • White House Blocks Most Green Energy Tax Credits in Final Spending Bill

    December 20, 2019
    The spending packages to fund the federal government through the end of the 2020 fiscal year ending on October 1st, which were passed by the House and Senate this week, included only two extensions of green energy tax credits. 
  • Congress Racing To Extend and Expand Electric Vehicle, Wind, and Solar Tax Credits

    December 13, 2019
    It would be comforting to think that the House’s impeachment proceedings have so poisoned relations between Democrats and Republicans that the Congress won’t be able to pass any significant legislation in the near future besides a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year. Unfortunately, the prospect of using tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to reward special interests is so irresistibly attractive to members of Congress that it can overcome almost any level of partisan animosity.  
  • Don't Just "Modernize" Community Reinvestment Act, Repeal It

    December 13, 2019
    On Thursday, financial regulators released a long-awaited reform proposal which would make substantial changes to the implementation and enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The plan by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), if implemented, would be the most significant update to low-income lending requirements for U.S. banks in a quarter-century.
  • Wind and Solar Tax Credits: Special Interest Subsidies

    December 6, 2019
    The House Ways and Means Committee on November 19th released a draft of its “Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act” (summary). The sponsors propose to extend, increase, and create tax credits for various non-fossil energy-related technologies, such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels.
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Should End Frivolous Student Loan Lawsuit

    November 19, 2019
    The efforts of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathy Kraninger have gone a long way in reversing egregious Obama-era actions that plagued the agency, helping to make it more transparent, accountable, and friendly to consumer choice. However, while these efforts should be applauded, there remains unfinished business that must be taken care of—chief among them the flawed lawsuit levied by the CFPB against the finance company Navient.

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